Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - ANDY DATSON

CON­CERNS are grow­ing that the so­called ‘Killer Clown’ craze which ter­rorised many across the UK in 2016 and last year has re­turned.

Sight­ings of peo­ple dressed as clowns hor­ror sto­ries and films – which pre­vi­ously oc­curred in Uxbridge among other places – are again be­ing re­ported across the coun­try.

Of­fi­cers are now be­ing called to new re­ports and, in some cases, the clowns are re­ported to be hold­ing knives.

It is be­lieved that the craze took hold af­ter peo­ple were in­spired by Pen­ny­wise, the clown from Stephen King’s It, ahead of the re­lease of a re­make of the hor­ror film in 2017.

In Oc­to­ber 2016, there were fright­en­ing re­ports of some­one run­ning through Brunel Univer­sity’s cam­pus in Uxbridge, dressed as a clown and car­ry­ing a chain­saw.

In a state­ment, se­cu­rity op­er­a­tions man­ager Terry Vass said: “Some­one dressed as a clown and car­ry­ing what ap­peared to be a chain­saw was seen on the cam­pus on Satur­day night.

“Although we can’t con­firm whether the chain­saw was real or not, we take such in­ci­dents and our stu­dents’ safety ex­tremely se­ri­ously.”

In De­cem­ber 2016, Mor­taza Muza­fari and Mo­hammed Rashid, both from En­field, were given com­mu­nity or­ders af­ter they were caught scar­ing a vic­tim dressed as clowns in a car park at West­field shop­ping cen­tre on Oc­to­ber 17.

Both men, aged 20 and 18 re­spec­tively, car­ried out un­paid work as part of the sen­tence and must each pay a to­tal of £270 in fines, court costs and other fees.

In just one week in Oc­to­ber 2016, Child­line was con­tacted 120 times by chil­dren across the coun­try scared by the sin­is­ter trend, in which peo­ple dress up as ter­ri­fy­ing clowns in or­der to scare passers-by.

A quar­ter of those con­tact­ing Child­line about clowns were un­der the age of 11.

In Oc­to­ber 2016, an NSPCC spokesper­son said: “Peo­ple get­ting dressed up as ‘creepy clowns’ and fright­en­ing chil­dren should take a long hard look at them­selves.

“Clowns are meant to make chil­dren laugh but these peo­ple are abus­ing this idea and turn­ing it into some­thing twisted and warped.

“In­creas­ing re­ports that these ‘clowns’ are not sim­ply seek­ing to frighten chil­dren but us­ing them to in­tim­i­date, com­mit crimes, abuse or bully are deeply wor­ry­ing and this trend needs to be stamped out.

“Young peo­ple should stay well away from them and if they do hap­pen to see a ‘creepy clown’ out on the streets, or lurk­ing near their school, they should im­me­di­ately tell their par­ents or the near­est re­spon- sible adult and re­port it to the po­lice where nec­es­sary.

“If a child is wor­ried they should call Child­line on 0800 1111 or get in touch via chid­line.org.uk.”

Posed by model

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